Listening to Their Voices: Factors that Inhibit or Enhance Postsecondary Outcomes for Students' with Disabilities

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Although an increasing number of students with disabilities are considering postsecondary educational opportunities, many of these students find the challenges daunting as compared to their secondary educational experiences. The purpose of the qualitative case study reported herein was to learn more about students' perceptions of services received in college in order to develop a clearer understand of how to better ensure positive outcomes. Fifty nine students with various disabilities and six disability resource coordinators from five two year community colleges and three four-year universities participated in the study. Three major themes emerged from the data, including: (a) capitalizing on student self-determination skills, (b) implementing formalized planning processes, and (c) improving postsecondary support. The author developed a preliminary framework based on the analysis of the data. This framework included three key factors that contribute to the success of students with disabilities in postsecondary institutions; (1) self-determination, (2) planning efforts, and (3) postsecondary supports. The article concluded with recommendations for improving postsecondary outcomes for students with disabilities. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)